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Artificial jellyfish created

Made from rat bits. [BBC] Rob

Welder women's room sign from a hackspace


Nick sez, "I designed and laser cut a new women's room sign for my hackerspace (CCCKC/Hammerspace). The files are up on thinigiverse if anyone wants to make their own. It took a long time to figure out something that wasn't a dress to signify that a stick figure is a women. Down pigtails seem to do the job nicely and I noticed that Jackhammer Jill has them as well."

Womens Room Sign Welder (Thanks, Nick!)

What a "self-made" man owes to the world

John Scalzi's "A Self-Made Man Looks At How He Made It" is a characteristically great essay about how his life's course from poverty and food stamps to fame and commercial success was only possible because of all the social programs, generous individuals, and public spending that went into his upbringing, and why this makes him proud to pay his taxes today.

My parents’ marriage did not last particularly long and in the early seventies — and off and on for the next several years — my mother found herself in the position of having to rely on the social net of welfare and food stamps to make sure that when she couldn’t find work (or alternately, could find it but it didn’t pay enough), she was able to feed her children and herself. Once again, I owe thanks to America’s taxpayers for making sure I had enough to eat at various times when I was a child.

Not having to wonder how I was going to eat meant my attention could be given to other things, like reading wonderful books. As a child, many of the books I read and loved came from the local libraries where I lived. I can still remember going into a library for the first time and being amazed — utterly amazed — that I could read any book I wanted and that I could even take some of them home, as long as I promised to give each of them back in time. I learned my love of science and story in libraries. I know now that each of those libraries were paid for by the people who lived in the cities the libraries were in, and sometimes by the states they were in as well. I owe the taxpayers of each for the love of books and words.

From kindergarten through the eighth grade, I had a public school education, which at the time in California was very good, because the cuts that would come to education through the good graces of Proposition 13 had not yet trickled down to affect me. My schools in the cities of Covina, Azusa and Glendora all had “gifted and talented” programs that allowed me and my other classmates extra opportunities to expand our minds, aided by excellent teachers, most of whose names I can still rattle off after 30 years: Mrs. Chambers, Mrs. Fox, Mrs. Swirsky, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Kaufman, Ms. Morgan. Through much of this time I was fed through school lunch programs which allowed me a meal for free or reduced rates. In the sixth grade, when again my mother and I found ourselves poor and briefly homeless, and I began feeling depressed, the school’s counselor was there to do his best to keep me on an even keel. These schools and programs were funded locally, through the state and through the federal level. The taxpayers helped me learn, kept me fed, and prevented despair from clouding up my mind.

A Self-Made Man Looks At How He Made It

If they turned R2D2 into a Death Star


I love this design for an R2D2 Death Star. Sebastian sez, "This is what the rebels should have done with those stolen plans."

T-SHIRTS > DeathstaR2-D2 t-shirt (Thanks, Sebastian!)

The Harvey Girls - 480 pages of comics featuring Little Audrey, Little Dot, and Little Lotta

IMG 1918
Little Dot is about 9 years old and, like artist Yayoi Kusama, she is obsessed with dots and paints them on every surface within reach of her brush or pencil. Little Lotta is an insatiable trencherman who is unaware of her superhuman strength. Little Audrey is a blithe dilettante who casually outperforms adults of all professions. All three fiercely independent girls had their very own comic books in the 1950s and 1960s. I read many stories starring Audrey, Dot, and Lotta as a youngster, and I was delighted when Dark Horse reprinted the best of these comics in a giant, brick-heavy anthology called The Harvey Girls: Little Audrey, Little Dot, and Little Lotta a couple of years ago.

My 9-year-old daughter can't get enough of this book. She has read it over and over again. The only part she skips is the informative introduction by cartoon historian Jerry Beck, which I greatly enjoyed. It was fun learning about the writers and artists behind these books. Harvey's house style (they also did Casper and Richie Rich) is deeply weird, but also slick and appealing. These guys were master draftsmen who cared a great deal about the quality of their work, and I can easily spend hours poring over the pages of this book.

After the jump: a couple of spreads from the book (it's mostly black and white, but there are about 80 pages in color).

Buy The Harvey Girls: Little Audrey, Little Dot, and Little Lotta on Amazon

Read the rest

Washington's King County voids marriage license between a person and a corporation

Jeff sez, "King County has voided the license it issued Tuesday between Corporate Person, a Washington State Corporation, and Ms. Angela Marie Vogel: 'Marriage is a civil contract between a male and a female who have each attained the age of eighteen years, and who are otherwise capable.'"

The Wedding of Corporate Person to Angela Marie Vogel (Thanks, Jeff!)

Norway's foreign minister on why Breivik didn't have a special, secret trial

Jonas Gahr Store, Norway's foreign minister, has written a NYT op-ed explaining why his country refused to treat the mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik any differently from other criminals -- because Breivik's cause is served by treating him as a sort of criminal superman whose crimes are so special that normal justice can't apply to them.

Confronting and undermining the narratives and ideas of extremism must therefore be one of our key tasks. To do this, we must retain the courage of our convictions in the face of extremism.

Virtually all modern forms of extremism accuse liberal Western democratic systems of being hypocritical and, ultimately, weak. Al Qaeda portrays the West as anti-Islamic imperialists masquerading as promoters of democracy. Right wing extremism suggests the West is committing cultural suicide through its lax judicial system and naïve multiculturalism.

Both have committed horrific acts designed to bait us into betraying our values and making them martyrs. In fact, it is remarkable to see the many similarities between these two sorts of extremism in their disdain for diversity and their indiscriminate violence against civilians.

In this context, it is a mistake to treat crimes committed by extremists as exceptions, subject to special processes. They must be held accountable in accordance with and to the full extent of the law. Hiding suspects from public view merely dehumanizes the perpetrators and undermines any moral or judicial lessons.

Learning From Norway’s Tragedy (via Making Light)

John Kricfalusi, creator of Ren and Stimpy, Kickstarts a cartoon

Hurray! John K. is creating a new cartoon about one of my favorite characters: George Liquor. I was laughing out loud while watching this video. I wish he had a video show where he talked about stuff like this every week!

Hi cartoon fans! I’m John Kricfalusi (creator of Ren and Stimpy). I have a new cartoon I need your help in producing. It stars one of the original Ren and Stimpy characters, Mr. George Liquor, AMERICAN! You loved him in Dog Show and Man's Best Friend. Now bring him to life in CANS WITHOUT LABELS!

George is an old school, manly, Republican sort of guy. He thinks today’s Republicans are wimps. He’s leathery on the outside but all mush in the center, at least with his dear ones. He believes in “tough love” and lives his life according to the rules. “It’s Discipline that begets love!”

HOW DID I COME UP WITH THIS PREPOSTEROUS STORY?

IT REALLY HAPPENED - THAT'S HOW! George is largely inspired by my own manly Dad.

Dad believes in the old values: hard work, rules and most important of all – SAVING A BUCK! Wasting money is a sin against Almighty Bejeezus. Hang on to every last penny and put it away for a rainy day, or face the consequences!

Like my Dad, George craves a bargain. He'll not pay sticker price for anything. He ONLY buys stuff on sale and refuses to buy any brand name products.

Brand Names are a Commie Scam!

John Kricfalusi, creator of Ren and Stimpy, Kickstarts a cartoon

Sally Ride, first American woman in space, has died

Dr. Sally Ride, an American physicist and former NASA astronaut, has died of pancreatic cancer. She joined NASA in 1978, and in 1983 became the first American woman to travel into space. From a statement on her website:

Sally Ride died peacefully on July 23rd, 2012 after a courageous 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Sally lived her life to the fullest, with boundless energy, curiosity, intelligence, passion, joy, and love. Her integrity was absolute; her spirit was immeasurable; her approach to life was fearless.

Sally was a physicist, the first American woman to fly in space, a science writer, and the president and CEO of Sally Ride Science. She had the rare ability to understand the essence of things and to inspire those around her to join her pursuits.

Read the rest

Sarah Wayne Callies is saying the most spoilery things about her character on The Walking Dead

If you're a regular reader of The Walking Dead comic as well as a viewer of the show, then you won't be spoiled if you read about a recent and interesting statement Sarah Wayne Callies made about Lori's fate on AMC's The Walking Dead. But if you're not familiar with what happens in the comic (and you don't want to be spoiled), skip this story and remain in blissful ignorance. (via Superhero Hype) Jamie

Giant baby avenges poor skin-care choices by abandoning mother in a basket


In this 1945 Life ad, a giant baby exacts a vicious turnabout-is-fair-play revenge on his mother, who failed as a parent an a human being by using the wrong skin-care products on him.

Life, September 3, 1945

New works from Ray Caesar


Artist Ray Caesar, who uses 3D design software to create his work, has a new series available at Gallery House. Shown here: La Chambre, 2012.

Excerpt from my forthcoming novel Pirate Cinema

Tor.com has published an excerpt from my forthcoming YA novel Pirate Cinema, a book set in the UK in which a gang of squatter guerrilla filmmakers take on the entertainment industry and their pals in the government to save the world from corrupt, brutal anti-piracy laws.

Booklist gave it a starred review, saying " ...Doctorow’s series starter is his most cogent, energizing call-to-arms to date, an old-fashioned (but forward-thinking) counter-culture rabble rouser that will have dissidents of all ages dying to stick it to the Man... It’s generally accepted that fussing with computers is a narrative buzzkill, yet Doctorow’s unrivaled verisimilitude makes every click as exciting as a band of underdog warriors storming a castle. It’s not exactly Abbie Hoffman’s Steal This Book (1971), but with its delirious insights into everything from street art to urban exploring to dumpster diving to experimental cinema, it feels damn close."

“I’m Lawrence Foxton, a Police Community Support Officer here on the estate. I don’t think we’ve met before, have we?”

Police Community Support Officers: a fake copper. A volunteer policeman who gets to lord his tiny, ridiculous crumb of power over his neighbors, giving orders, enforcing curfews, dragging you off to the real cops for punishment if you refuse to obey him. I knew Larry Foxton because I’d escaped his clutches any number of times, scarpering from the deserted rec with my pals before he could catch up, puffing along under his anti-stab vest and laden belt filled with Taser, pepper spray, and plastic handcuff straps.

“I don’t think so, Mr. Foxton.” Mum had the hard tone in her voice she used when she thought me or Cora were winding her up, a no-nonsense voice that demanded that you get to the point.

“Well, I’m sorry to have to meet you under these circumstances. I’m afraid that I’m here to notify you that your Internet access is being terminated, effective”—he made a show of looking at the faceplate of his police-issue ruggedized mobile—“now. Your address has been used to breach copyright through several acts of illegal downloading. You have been notified of these acts on two separate occasions. The penalty for a third offense is a oneyear suspension of network access. You have the right to an appeal. If you choose to appeal, you must present yourself in person at the Bradford magistrates’ court in the next fourty-eight hours.” He hefted a little thermal printer clipped to his belt, tore off a strip of paper, and handed it to her. “Bring this.” His tone grew even more official and phony: “Do you understand and consent to this?” He turned his chest to face Mum, ostentatiously putting her right in the path of the CCTV in his hat brim and over his breast pocket.

Pirate Cinema (Excerpt)

They are making a Bill Hicks biopic and Russell Crowe would like to direct

I'm gonna say this right now: What you're about to read is a wonderful idea. Russell Crowe, whose name was thrown around at one point to play late comedian Bill Hicks in a biopic, has now said he'd rather make his directorial debut with a different actor in the leading role. There's something about that turn of events that seems so classy for some weird reason, but it also makes me think that Crowe is a big Bill Hicks fan, and I love finding out that famous people are fans of things. But back in reality-land: production on this movie could start as soon as early 2013. Casting will certainly be a very interesting process, and that coveted role will most likely go to a British guy. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Read the rest

Stark contrast in LA news coverage

Leo Gonzalez, an LA area comedic actor and library assistant, pointed out the stark contrast between KCAL's and KTLA's take on the Anaheim police response to a protest of a police shooting. Embedded above, KCAL's report shows video of police unleashing a snarling police dog on women and children. KTLA's report has an entirely different tone.

At Facebook, Leo notes: "The KTLA report might've been an hour later, but they didn't include any of the footage that KCAL had."

Judge for yourself; it seems surreal to me.